The other day I was talking to someone at my company, and they told me that becoming a sales person in the North or Northeast was equivalent of someone in the south becoming a lawyer or doctor. People are just as proud to be a sales person as they are a doctor or lawyer (which I can understand about the lawyer deal). But this truly shocked me. Is this really true because in the south, sales people carry the stigma of a used car salesman? I know many people, if they had the choice, would move out of sales into another field, almost any field. (Well anyways, if you are a sales person reading this and this next paragraph bothers you, skip it and read the following paragraph.)
Personally, I cannot stand buying cars. I despise buying cars from any professional cars sales person. When I go to buy a car, I’ve done my homework, and that often comes as a shock to the car salesperson! I remember one time I went to buy a car, I sat down with a person trying my best to be as polite as I could and then out of utter frustration (an hour later without even looking at a car!!) I asked to speak to a Senior Sales person or the Sales Manager. I did not want to continue following his 5 step method of buying/selling a Chrystler car as put out by Chrystler! I did not want to fill out paperwork. I did not want to have a credit check. I did not want to do small talk. I just wanted bottom line numbers for a variety of vehicles. I kept telling the sales guy, and he kept asking me a variety of questions in his office! We weren’t looking or strolling through the lot talking. He wasn’t making any progress. I simply wanted some basic information. Is that too much to ask? Do I really need to give them my life story before I look at a car? Seriously! I simply asked one question: what is your bottom line on this car? I wanted a 5-10 minute conversation. That’s it! If they tell me something close to what my research suggests then I will begin talking further to them. I’ll see them as being honest instead of something else. But if the price is too far outside my research, I walk away. I know that they are trying to prevent the latter, but pricing is not dependent so much on sales as it is on the pricing department. Usually the sales guy has to go get approval from someone else anyways. They have to check the report that informs them of how much they have in it, from purchasing to service, and then make a determination on profit. I understand that they need to make a profit, but I am not going to buy them a new Italian suit either. So finally, I did not buy a car from them because of that experience. Every car that I have bought, I have bought from a manager at a car place that received no sales commission (it was always attributed to whomever they chose). I always find someone that will show me their report of how much they bought it and how much they have in it (re: service, etc) and how much they will profit off of me (FYI, minimum is $100 for most companies, GM, Ford, Chrystler). It’s a great way to avoid those issues.
I now deal with corporate sales people internally and externally. While I like the guys on my team (of course we like our guys! Right?), I have issues with the external guys. I have sales people contact me about eLearning stuff all the time for my department, since I am the one that handles these things. They all do the same thing: small talk, pitch, and ask for some sort of commitment whether it’s a time to call them back, a time to update them about something, etc. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including my own. So if you work in sales, I say all this to say yesterday on Twitter, Mike Abrams (@MikeAbrams) made some fantastic tweets. So I edited them and added stuff because if you know me, that’s just what I do.
Purpose, Process, Payoff is a phrase from the Wilson Learning Consultative Selling course. When meeting with a client share with them the Purpose-Process-Payoff (PPP) of the meeting. A little structure keeps goals clear. However, I say that we need to add one thing, People/Person. It needs to be a People/Person-Purpose-Process-Payoff structure, which may tip you off which type of selling I prefer.
- People/Person: Who are you selling to? What does he/she like/dislike? How do they view the buying/selling process? Is this a relational or non-relational sale? How does your personality mesh with their personality? What are their assumptions and presuppositions about you as a person or company?
- Purpose : Why are we meeting? What are the goals of us getting together? They must be mutual goals, not just yours. What is the scope ? Is the meeting necessary?
- Process: How will the meeting be structured? Who will do what? How will we achieve our meeting goals?
- Payoff: What are the benefits of the meeting? How this will help us achieve our larger goals? WIIFM? What’s the ultimate outcome?
I do not need to be bothered continuously by various sales people. I do not need the weekly or biweekly phone calls. To me, this says that you’re desperate. What’s even more is that I cannot stand to have someone’s boss contact me for whatever reason. Recently, I had a well-known eLearning solution contact me. I began discussions and demos with them. However, over time, the account executive stopped calling and her boss started calling me! While they claimed they were going through re-organization or re-structuring (or that was fancy talk for she was being laid off or fired, which is what I believe), I do not want someone’s boss doing that! I believe that is rude and inappropriate. Now, I have a new account representative, but every time they call me or email me, the boss is in on the call or email (which I don’t mind about the email but use BCC so the customer doesn’t know!). Why? Why not just hand it off to the new representative and come aboard if there are issues? My new sales person claims to have read everything that was emailed between myself, my company, and the old representative. If that is the case, then why does the boss lurk around!! Oh, it drives me nuts! Anyways, I hope this helps someone.